Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged in Cube by Ben Cottee

A Khans of Tarkir Prerelease – Back in Black by Christopher Cooper

Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged in Cube by Ben Cottee

Hello Readers,

With Magic Origins now fully spoiled I want to take a good look and think before giving you my set review after the pre-releases which will give me the chance to witness some cards in action.

So this week I wanted to take a look back at Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged and see how it faired in Cube, which cards didn’t perform, and which did. Dragons of Tarkir still hasn’t really had time to prove itself and I will catch-up with a set review in a few months – just before Battle for Zendikar.

I will start off with some themes and cycles that got added then look at some individual cards.

Going Deep

[draft]Treasure Cruise
Dig Through Time
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Become Immense
Murderous Cut[/draft]

Delve in a shape of Treasure Cruise proved to be a mechanic too busted for Modern, Legacy, and even Vintage. While in retrospect drawing three cards for one mana is obviously insane, delve cards have found themselves a really nice space in Cube. Because of Cube’s restrictions to 10 fetchlands only, they are slowed down seriously. They operate more as they did in the Limited format: being used as great curve fillers mid- to late game, when the graveyard resource has grown naturally through playing a game of Magic. Even if they are cast at a full delve discount, it’s turn 4 or 5. At this time they don’t spoil the fun as they would if played on turn 2 nor 3.

My Cube doesn’t have a dedicated self-mill strategy, but if you support it, then the delve cards go up in value so much that even Gurmag Angler and Hooting Mandrills become serious considerations.

Blue card draw is at saturation point, so I could see Dig Through Time possibly moving out. Murderous Cut isn’t that much of an upgrade over other two mana removal options – and without Delve is actively bad.

Verdict: Great Cube cards, but do not be afraid to leave them out as they aren’t at their full power in this format.

Triple Trouble

Khans of Tarkir was a Wedge set, fueling hope for playable tri-colour cards to create a cycle (I love cycles) of playable cards for Cube. Added were:

[draft]Mantis Rider
Crackling Doom
Siege Rhino
Sultai Charm
Savage Knuckleblade[/draft]

Mantis Rider is a cool card, but I completely missed Jeskai Ascendancy. Since the latter allows for much cooler gameplay than the former, so the Rider came out. The Big Knucks also didn’t last long being replaced by Sarkhan Unbroken two sets later.

All these cards are great. Siege Rhino has been ruling Standard since October, but these still go late and don’t offer much power/uniqueness over single or double-coloured cards to make it worth stretching your mana for the third colour. Couple this with a move down to 500 cards of a Cube and it becomes really difficult to rational leaving them all in. I expect cuts to come soon.

Verdict: All good cards and worth a cycle in a larger Cube, but below 540 you need to pick and choose some key cards. I think only Siege Rhino survives from this list.

Confused Coloured Identity

Fate Reforged had a mythic/rare cycle of mono-coloured cards with hybrid mana activated abilities:

[draft]Soulfire Grand Master
Torrent Elemental
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Shaman of the Great Hunt
Yasova Dragonclaw[/draft]

None of these cards are insane, but they offer good mono-colour rates while also having some great potential upside – if you commit to use their abilities. Soulfire Grand Master gives White a good late game option and opens up some cool plays (returning Cryptic Command!). Yasova Dragonclaw helps to shore up the weak Green three-drop space, and Tasigur, the Golden Fang I have mentioned before in the delve section. Torrent Elemental is really cool, but exile doesn’t come up that often and Blue isn’t really beating down enough to appreciate the tapping down. Shaman of the Great Hunt is a more interesting Red card than most, but is being pushed out by better options.

Verdict: Treat them as mono-coloured spells with upside and rank them accordingly. So this loose cycle will lose Torrent Elemental and Shaman of the Great Hunt to make room for other cards.

The Good, the Bad, and the Obvious

I throw a lot of cards in my Cube when a new set comes out. I have expectations of all of them. Some turn out to exceed, and some turn out to fall short. The Good are cards that remain in the Cube. The Bad are those that have been included at some point, but dropped out after testing.

The Good

[draft]Ashcloud Phoenix
Bloodsoaked Champion
Hordeling Outburst
Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
Seeker of the Way
Utter End
Frost Walker
Outpost Siege
Temur Sabertooth
Whisperwood Elemental[/draft]

Temur Sabertooth is in a very competitive slot of Green four-drops. I am looking for a way to get the new Surrak, The Hunt Caller in, but the Sabertooth offers some cool plays and just a different angle than what Green normally comes from.

The rest have all proven themselves. Utter End may be a worse Vindicate but is still awesome. Ashcloud Phoenix has recently gained lots of competition from Dragons of Tarkir’s Thunderbreak Regent. Also, I have my eye on a couple of Red four-drops in Magic Origins.

The Bench

[draft]Clever Impersonator[/draft]

This card hasn’t really done much yet. It should be get cut on power level. But the potential to copy planeswalkers sounds so cool that it sits on a bench for now.

The Bad

[draft]Flamewake Phoenix
Humble Defector
Mardu Scout
End Hostilities
Crux of Fate
Grim Haruspex
Heir of the Wilds
Wingmate Roc
Battle Brawler[/draft]

The Red aggressive cards were to spice things up and add a new dynamic in Cube, but ultimately they were not good enough or too inconsistent. I had visions of Humble Defector doing great things, but there aren’t enough cards to take advantage of it.

Crux of Fate suffers a fate of being usurped by a great Origins sweeper Languish. Also, there are only two dragons in the Cube, so you don’t get to make a one-sided Wrath trick as you can in Standard.

The Obvious

[draft]Ugin, the Spirit Dragon[/draft]

An eight mana colourless planeswalker that sweeps the board is good in Cube – who would have thought! I will repeat what I said in my last article: Wizards will have to go some to print a colourless planeswalker that doesn’t make the cut in Cube.

Thanks for reading,

Ben Cottee

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